WA Government clash with Opposition over rural firefighters

The WA Government has defended its progress in meeting the recommendations of the Ferguson Inquiry, made after the devastating Yarloop-Waroona fires. 

The opposition criticised the lack of a rural fire service, one of the recommendations of the inquiry, saying it could have more effectively responded to the fires in the Kimberley over the long weekend.

Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said that Labor is working to establish a rural fire service, but it won’t be active this fire season.

“It would be highly inappropriate and irresponsible to rush through such a change,” she said.

“We have consulted far and wide on what is expected from a rural fire service and we have been working on it for some time.”

Ken Baston, the Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, said the McGowan government has made no progress towards the implementation of the recommendations from the Ferguson Inquiry.

“The inquiry called for a more effective plan to combat fire in our remote areas, including the establishment of rural fire services,” he said.

“It is clear a rural fire service would have been best placed to respond to last week’s Kimberley fires.

“The scale of these types fires is such that we cannot expect pastoralists to fight them without significant help.”

Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan attacked the previous Liberal Government’s lack of action in the area, saying they had plenty of time to start implementing changes.

“It is completely disingenuous of the Opposition to claim that the regions are under resourced when the Liberal-National Government was in power for eight-and-a-half years and the Labor McGowan government has been fixing their myriad messes for only the last seven months,” He said.

“Fighting fires in the extreme remote locations of the Kimberley and Pilbara will always be a challenge and suggesting that a rural fire service would have made any difference is an insult to those invaluable volunteers who fight those blazes now.”

Mr Logan also pointed out that one of the recommendations from the inquiry, to have automatic vehicle locaters in emergency service vehicle, has been implemented.

“This will not only improve safety for firefighters, but give logistics officers a valuable tool in how best to use resources to fight a fire.”

Tagged under

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *